Just a few days ago, the air temperature was crisp and damp and the winds continued to howl a gale. It did not feel at all like the promised turn of the season. While I may be disappointed, the Jackdaws couldn’t care less. They are busy, busy, busy gathering twigs to build their rather untidy nests in every corner of the barn roof or available chimney pot they can find.
I like the Jackdaws with their raucous calls and high-pitched yelps. They are not overly musical, but seem to enjoy making music and conversation as they go about their business.
It is not dissimilar to our own style of music and conversation during projects. Roger walks through a room, singing a random song. About 30 minutes later, I am wondering “Why am I singing this hit from the 1970s?” I maddingly embrace this earworm; carry on with this implanted song in my head, only to have Roger pass by with yet another tune. We will often sing songs relevant to our current circumstances. “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO is always a favourite when the sun is shining and we are working outside.
Our own renovation project is in its home stretch, moving from a messy Jackdaw’s nest to something we can soon enjoy and reveal. Still, we have a few more things to complete and rather than do them, we’ve embraced yet another distraction: we’ve rescued a piano.
When I moved to the UK, I left my piano in the USA with a friend. Moving it across the ocean was not an option at the time. Her children have taken lessons on it and it continues to be played, so that makes me happy. And yet, I’ve missed not having a piano.
I’m not a great player. I can read music and figure out some challenging musical pieces, but I’ve never been great at memorizing; nor, have I enjoyed performing for others. I’m a Jackdaw and not a Robin when it comes to my musicality. Happy to just make a racket and have a great time.
So, I found a piano. There was a house clearance and it needed a home, our home perhaps? We went to look it over, struck an agreement with the man getting rid of it and set about making plans for moving this hulking musical instrument. We next secured a moving van and a few friends to help. Five of us – all in our 50’s with dodgy backs, sore shoulders, and any number of conditions that you’d think would have made me hire professionals – showed up and moved the piano.
Taking small steps, periodic lifts and regular pauses, we got the piano out of the house where it had sat comfortably for over fifty years. Making use of its little wheels on the flat, we inched it toward the van. Heave! Ho! And up into the van! Thirty minutes after it was secured in the back of the van, we were then faced with off loading it and getting it into our house.
“It must have a cast iron frame!” Roger offered as explanation of the hard work of everyone. This piano is heavy. It may be an upright, but it only just fitted through our very narrow front porch with a rather tricky tight turn. And, yes, I measured it before hand. Having done so provided me a margin of confidence, a very tiny margin.
The piano is now in place. It needs a little TLC, so a piano tuner and restorer has been called. Sitting at the piano, I can’t read the music without my glasses, which is a new development since last I played. But, the view from the piano stool, down the valley, allows for playing music while watching the birds weave their flight paths over the bright yellow gorse.
Of course, the piano will need to be moved again as the corner I have selected has blown plaster which needs repairing; and, the walls in this part of the house haven’t been painted yet. These projects are on next year’s list.
For now, I can rifle through my piano music and accompany the Jackdaws as we all get about our noisy, chaotic, music making.